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Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Shortbread crust:
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
• 1/4 cup  granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/4 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt
• 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
Apple Filling:
• 2 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick)1
• 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar, 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Bean Sugar
• 1 teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Streusel:  
• 1/2 cup (40g) old-fashioned oats
• 1/3 cup (70g) packed light sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon
• 1/4 cup (30g) all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

Directions:
• Preheat the oven to 300°F (149°C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on all sides. Set aside.
• Make the crust: Stir the melted butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir until everything is combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
• Make the apple filling: Combine the sliced apples, flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl until all of the apples are evenly coated. Set aside.
• Make the streusel: Whisk the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry blender or two forks (or even with your hands) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
• Remove the crust from the oven, and turn the oven up to 350°F. Evenly layer the apples on top of the warm crust. Layer them tightly and press them down to fit. Sprinkle the apple layer with streusel and bake for 30–35 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown.
• Remove from the oven and allow cooling for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, and then chilling in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or overnight). Lift the foil or parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. I usually cut them into 16 smaller bars, but you can cut them into 12 larger bars. Once cut, drizzle some salted caramel sauce on top of each. These apple pie bars can be enjoyed warm, at room temperature, or even cold.
Salted Caramel Topping:
• 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
• 6 Tablespoons  salted butter, cut up into 6 pieces
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:
1. Heat granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a high heat resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
2. Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.
3. Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add the butter. Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added.
4. Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2-3 minutes.
5. Very slowly, drizzle in 1/2 cup of heavy cream while stirring. Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble and/or splatter when added.
6. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.
7. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of salt. Allow to cool down before using.

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